THE £13million Backstage Centre in Purfleet has been nominated for a prestigious design award by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

The centre, part of the High House Production Park site, in Vellacott Close, has been shortlisted for the community benefit category at the East of England Awards.

The hi-tech centre, which was opened last March by musician Jools Holland, will be going up against 13 other entrants, including the Royal Pavilion at Southend Pier.

The centre is designed to provide a large-scale space to allow for rehearsals, creative development and technical training.

Pop star Leona Lewis used the centre to rehearse for her world tour last year and the cast of Towie have used it for filming.

South Essex College is another client of the centre. It’s used the sound stage, recording studio and training rooms for its students.

Pauline Tambling, chief executive of Creative and Cultural Skills, which provides the rehearsal space at the Backstage Centre, said she was delighted to be shortlisted.

She said: “We had hundreds of people here last week for the civic awards, and it was said then that the more people who use this building the more people in Thurrock will have the opportunity to use it.

“This nomination is especially important because it’s here to inspire the people in Thurrock to be able to aspire to the best jobs.”

Category winners will be announced on Thursday, May 8 and go forward for the national prize.